SHOREVIEW, Minn.-After launching its SwitchAgent solution last year, Deluxe has taken to the streets to get consumers' opinions about changing financial institutions and has now retooled the product slightly based on that feedback.

SwitchAgent still uses a concierge service to help consumers switch automatic credits and debits such as ACH transfers, but after consulting with consumers Deluxe has also added a function to transfer online bill pay from one FI to another.

Petro Tsarehradsky, VP of marketing for Deluxe, told Credit Union Journal that when the company asked consumers on the street about switching banks and credit unions, online bill pay regularly came up as one of the biggest hassles. Plus, he added, when SwitchAgent launched last year, use of online bill pay "was at about 18% in the consumer marketplace. ... What we learned is that use of online bill pay has been growing at 50%-plus from a consumer perspective."

Rather than using a Deluxe specialist to convert bill pay to the consumer's new FI, the new institution provides the consumer a link to a website and a secure confirmation number that then connects the old and new institutions.

"At that time, the consumer enters their log-in information (for both FIs) and from that point on, all the payee info from the old institution is presented on one screen. The consumer just has to click the transfer button until it's done."

Deluxe has not changed its pricing for SwitchAgent, which runs about $60 per consumer, though it recommends that credit unions and other FIs offer the service for free. "This is a method for (banks and CUs) to spend less time setting up a new customer and more time selling their products and services," said Tsarehradsky.


A Lesson Learned

He added that Deluxe's experience with SwitchAgent points to larger conclusions about how FIs can better facilitate the switch process for consumers.

"We've learned that you just can't take your eye off the ball in understanding how much time you're spending with a member on utility work like setting up an account, and making that as seamless and flawless as possible so that you can then spend more time talking about the good stuff like auto loans and credit cards."

Tsarehradsky noted that having the new member complete the bill pay transfer process themselves quickly acclimates the member to utilizing the CU's online offerings. "From the moment that (transfer) website is presented to the consumer, they're starting to interact with the financial institution that way," he said. "They say perception is reality, and that's what they think of this institution-it's a click away."





Subscribers can read related stories at by typing the following headlines into the search function:

Texas Trust CU Eases Switching With Deluxe's SwitchAgent - Feb. 28.

Kit Plus Switch Agent 'Concierge' Helps Close The Deal - Oct. 31, 2011.

Direct Deposit Is Key To Switch-Kit Programs - Oct. 24, 2011.

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